Town of Vassalboro
Select Board Meeting
6:30 P.M. Vassalboro Town Office
Thursday, May 25, 2023

Members Present: Barbara Redmond, Chris French, Rick Denico

Others Present: Aaron Miller, Mary Grow, Mike Poulin, Tom Stevens, Doug Phillips, Holly Weidner, Ray Breton, Hunter Farwell

1. Call the Select Board meeting to order – The meeting was called to order by Chair B. Redmond at 6:31 p.m.

2. Minutes: Review and approve the minutes of the May 11, 2023 meeting – C. French motioned to approve the minutes, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

3. Public Hearing on Marijuana Fees – No comment from the public or selectboard.

4. Public Hearing on Solar Fees – No comment from the public. B. Redmond reiterated that the board agreed May 11 to set the major site review to $400 and minor site review at $100 for commercial building permits only.

5. Discussion on Marijuana and Solar Fees – D. Phillips clarified that the fees are not specifically solar fees, but rather site review ordinance fees.

6. Open paving bids – The Town of Vassalboro and China combined proposals for paving, receiving seven bids. The China Town Manager opened those bids May 22, with the selectboard voting in favor to award the bid to Mainely Paving Services LLC. C. French expressed concern about bidders hiring out to other contractors. The Town Manger noted that the Public Works Director required bidders prior to bidding to notify the Town if that is their intention. He added that the Public Works Director is recommending the board award the bid to Mainely Paving. C. French motioned to award the bid to Mainely Paving, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

7. Discuss Conservation Commission Appointment – H. Weidner noted that Peter Soule has attended two conservation commission and recommends his appointment. C. French motioned to appoint Mr. Soule to the conservation commission to fill the remaining term, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

8. Discuss BYOB permits – C. French motioned to approve two permits; seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

9. Discuss Town-wide Factoring – The Town Manger reported the Assessor is proposing a 20-percent townwide factor for 2023. He said that this does not mean that real estate taxes will increase. The State Property Tax Division confirmed that next year the Town will be at 62 percent if nothing is done to offset the widening disparity between our assessments and the prevailing market conditions. This is attributed to an unprecedented climb in the real estate market since the Covid-19 pandemic.
The board agreed to discuss this again at the next meeting after the Town Manger receives an answer from the superintendent’s office regarding whether this would affect reimbursements from the state.

10. Discuss Year End Budget – The Town Manager presented an overview of expense in preparation for the fiscal year end. It’s possible that the administration line could be over budget by about $50,000. He added that he expects to use funds from public works and paving to make up the difference.

11. Reports:
a. Town Manager – C. French asked the Town Manager to reach out to the fire and EMS chiefs about submitting a regular report. The Town Manager will also contact Casella about delivering porta potties for the annual car show which is usually held during the second week in September. Lastly, the Town Manager updated the selectboard regarding a meeting held with the warden’s service regarding trespassing on the Webber Pond dam. He said that the Warden’s service or Regional Communications in Augusta should be contacted regarding such concerns. C. French motioned to approve the manager’s report, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

12. Approve Treasurer’s Warrants – C. French motioned to accept warrants 67-69, seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

13. Other items as may be presented by the Town Manager or Selectboard

Rumble strips – The Town Manager reported the state plans to install centerline rumble strips on Route 201 beginning north of the Old Quarry Road and continuing north for 4.42 miles to the Vassalboro/Winslow town line.

Paving on Main Street in north village - The Town Manager reported that he has been communicating with Robert Betz at the State’s Department of Transportation and Ray Breton of the sanitary district regarding Mr. Breton’s concern about paving around manhole covers. R. Breton reported that $400,000 was spent on resetting manhole covers last year and expressed concern about having to do the project over again. According to Mr. Betz, utilities present in the State’s highway easements are subject to the “Utility Accommodation Rules,” and MaineDOT is obligated to accommodate utilities.  However, Mr. Betz said in a May 18 email that the state statutorily cannot be financially responsible for utility presence in highway easements, so past and future adjustments will be a responsibility of the utility. 
The Town Manager also expressed concern about the state replacing curbing with the original granite and is waiting for an answer from DOT. He will reach out to DOT again and set up a meeting with the sanitary district.

Marijuana Grow Operation – D. Phillips asked for clarification about whether a marijuana grow operation in North Vassalboro is permitted. The Town Manager will follow up with the Code Enforcement Officer.

14. Adjourn – C. French motioned to adjourn at 8:05 p.m., seconded by R. Denico; 3-0.

These minutes were read and accepted by the Selectboard on June 8, 2023 with the following amendments: none.